With the demise of the old-style Mac Pro, Apple reaches a technological ‘T’ Junction and a potential parting with some of its important fan-base. To the left (i.e. those of us left behind) may have to turn the hundreds of thousands of professional audio, video, and graphic artistes who have bought into expensive dedicated processing cards. These won’t work with the new architecture – not without expensive breakout boxes. Heaven forbid, we may have to go back to basics… to the PC. At least PCs have slots.
To the right is the Steve Jobs paradigm: I’m right, you’ll catch up someday. And you know what? He was right. His paradigm of the rugged indiviualist, the innovative entrepreneur was right… for the 20th Century. It’s 180 degrees facing in the wrong direction for the 21st Century. In the Wiki-Worlds, it is www: wrong, wrong, wrong.
The way of the 21st Century is collaboration. The dinosaurs that don’t get that deserve to go extinct. Evolve and involve people! In a world of connected-customers, the way of the dictator cannot stand… even if the dictator is benevolent (which I’m not sure Jobs was!)
Before I go any further, let me state in unambiguous black print on a white page: I love my Apple kit. I love it’s beauty. I love its functionality. I love its easy of use (most of the time). It’s Apple, the culture, that has life-threatening problem. The 21st Century is the time for symbiosis – win-win on equal terms with the partners who are its customers.
Living Organisations or Zombie Companies?
A Living Organisation – one that will survive and thrive in the 21st Century – will be one for whom all the seven aspects of life are true. Two of these are showing warning signs on the Intensive Care monitors for Apple:
Respiration is the give-and-take that all living organisms have within their environment. They take what they need to live on, but they also give out. There is a balance of Nature. For an organisation, this means way more than doing something noble for charity. It means a living and breathing relationship with their customers and suppliers. I don’t experience that with Apple, nor with the other “Usual Suspects” that I will mention below.
Sensitivity does what it says on the label: it senses. It keeps track of the internal environment and it makes sense of the external environment that it depends upon for life. Without it, the organisation becomes a zombie. It is ‘animated’ as if it is alive, but it is just going through the motions. The spotlight was turned on Amazon recently in the UK – with a television documentary showing just how ‘sensitive’ the mighty Amazon are to their staff. Staff are customers too in my book.
Adobe and Mindjet
Two of the companies I depend upon for my creative tools have recently gone down the ‘subscription’ route. With marketing spin on this, this is positioned as good for the customer. Yeah, right. It’s great for rich customers, but not for those of us who have saved hard to get access to this technology. For those of us whose cashflow is uncertain, this marks another T Junction. You stop paying your subscription? Find out what happens next.
I love marketing but I hate some many marketing smart-arses. Listen up people: Win-Win or no deal. And now: Win-Win, or WIN-WIN, but not WIN-win.
So what’s the difference between Adobe and Mindjet? Mindjet are sensitive to their environment. They changed the model to suit their customers – from all payscales. They restored the option to buy the upgrade. Top marks. Mindjet’s Alive!
Amazon proudly told me they were the World’s most customer-centric organisation. I was really excited by this. I wanted to know more. Couldn’t reach anybody. Didn’t get any response. Knocked – nobody answered. Guess I was the ‘wrong’ type of customer. I applaud the dream Amazon – now talk to your customers and listen to your staff.
Zombie companies like Adobe, Akai, Amazon, Apple, Avid, and, to break up the ‘A’ list, Yamaha who forget their customers have a past dedicated to their products, deserve to cease to get our support. There is a value on customer loyalty – it should lead to mutual respect and benefit. Get a load of the ongoing success of the John Lewis Partnership. John Lewis has it stayed vibrant, vital, and vivacious – by choosing the symbiotic route of partnership. It’s worked for a long time and will continue to do so.
I want Apple, Avid, and maybe even Amazon to succeed – but only if they return to their senses.
[Ed – btw, when I typed “zombie” into my tag field, “Eurozone” came up – is there a message there?]